“Hair hang” act rare, taught at Mass. facility

NEWTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Simply Circus in Newton, Massachusetts is where the acrobats from the “hair hang” act from Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily Circus have mastered their skills. It’s a training facility less than 50 minutes from Providence, RI.

The women have trained to make it effortless, even though it’s actually painful.

Ginger Howell told Eyewitness News she and a friend have studied “hair hanging” for five years. And even after five years they are limited to 10 minutes in the air, whereas, some professionals are up in the air for longer than 20 minutes.

While Howell admits it’s painful to hang by her hair, she said doing it takes her closer to nature.

“Of all the aerial arts it’s what comes closest to actual flying. Everything else you’re hanging on with your hands or feet or knees,” aerial act student Ginger Howell explained.

The founder of the program explained that how the hair is braided can impact how the acrobats’ weight is distributed. Without the right braid the pain can actually become a serious injury.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island Hospital is continuing to care for seven of the performers injured during the “hair hang” act in Sunday’s Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily Circus show, as one of the cast members was released from the hospital Tuesday night. Hospital officials confirmed that none of the women have life-threatening injuries, though recovery may take months for many of them.

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